Warm greetings from a very sunny Bermuda. We’ve had a constant stream of emails this year requesting us to update our list of ‘Top 10 Digital Signage Vendors for 2009‘ and of course a fair amount of criticism on our (perceived) selection criteria and general ability to be fair. So, on the flight over we took the opportunity to review our work to date on the 2010 list which we thought we’d share with you in two posts, one today and one later in the week.
One recent commenter called into question our integrity in terms of ‘column inches’ AND questioned which of them (vendors) would still be in business next year (the answer is ALL of them, although several will DEFINITELY have merged and others may be in different ‘guises’).
Whilst no list and indeed no judging panel will ever make everyone happy, we have always believed that our list is at least a start (the next ‘list’ will be our third and we are improving the criteria and refining how we go about ranking every single time). Many folks have used it is as basis on which to tender (witness the most recent JCDecaux RFP) and many others (software vendors) have used it on which to judge their own performance.
First and foremost our list has always been in terms of “what we see personally” and has always been global in nature. We have never ever hidden the fact that there are a lot of good signage vendors in the US but they will not be considered as they are not global, i.e. tend not to do business outside the borders of North America / Canada.
Our judging criteria is on what we see and what we hear; we have contributors in dozens of countries, we travel a lot, we go to all the big shows, we talk to everyone, we know the CEOs of the top companies in the industry whether they be suppliers, vendors, media buyers, ad agencies, networks or media owners AND that’s what we base a lot of it on – what we see and what we hear on the streets.
One thing that definitely surprised us in the year between compiling the 2007 and 2008 lists was actually just how good some of the in-country geographically specific / local solutions were.
These in actual fact are often first choice when networks and retailers look for a solution; after all, they are close by, speak the local language, support the local economy and can offer local support. Again, these are not considered in our list UNLESS they play globally (seriously play globally, not a half hearted attempt at playing) BUT nevertheless we would not necessarily dismiss them if we were working on a local RFP for a client (and nor should you).
The post ‘Whittling Down Our Digital Signage A To Z…‘ lists many ‘local’ country specific providers that we think are good and also details folks who never made it onto the 2008 list either cos’ in our opinion at the time they were rubbish (Cisco, 3M and YCD) or who were close to making it.
In terms of the list then, we KNOW it has been useful for folks looking for a vendor and as we have said before; in the past who would NOT have looked at Scala, who would NOT have included Scala in a tender or RFP process when looking for a solution – you would have been stupid not to include them wherever you were in the world. All we did initially was offer up another 9 vendors that for certain situations would be worthwhile also considering and then had the temerity to rank them!!!
Next week we will give a mid year review of our top ten so that you can work out who may be up and who maybe down. We will also have a look at a few others who may make it into the list.